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Born in 1949, Slavoj Cicek is one of the influential philosophers in the radical left and American camps. Inspired by Hagel, Marx and Lacan, he has published numerous books, including Le specter rôde toujours (2002), Le Sujet qui fârage (2007) and La Nouvelle Lutte des lessons. The Real Reasons for Refugees and Terrorism ”(2016).

Many left and liberal commentators have mentioned how coronavirus epidemic serves to justify and legitimize measures of control and settlement of populations that, until now, were impossible to imagine in a Western democratic society; Isn't the total secret of Italy a totalitarian fantasy? Not surprisingly, China (which was already extensively using new technologies) for social control purposes) it turns out that it is best equipped to withstand a catastrophic epidemic – at least judging from what the situation is now. This means that China embodies our future, at least in some ways. Are we entering a state of emergency so that the analyzes of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben will be updated?

It is not surprising that Agamben himself came to this conclusion, responding to the epidemic by the vast majority of commentators. Sorry "Scary, irrational and completely unjustified emergency measures for the alleged epidemic"talking about him as a type of flu, he asks the following question: "Why are the media and authorities trying to spread a climate of panic, creating a real state of emergency with restrictions on mobility and disrupting the normal functioning of life and working conditions in all regions? ? » In his opinion, the main reason for a disproportionate response should be in his opinion "Increasing Tendency to Use Emergency as a Normal Paradigm for Government"."We are all in the same ship, and her name is the diamond princess", Slavic Fitch

It is true that our freedoms are viewed in the present conditions seriously limited simple orders. Proportion (of such events), continues Agamben, fIt is obvious that what, according to CNR (1), is a normal flu, which is slightly different from what is repeated every year, is obvious. Terrorism, thought to have been exhausted as a result of extraordinary measures, appears to be an ideal pretext for spreading them across borders. » But Agamben sees the second reason for such asymmetry. "A state of fear that has become evident in the minds of individuals in recent years, which leads to a real need for collective panic situations, for which the epidemic once again offers an ideal pretext. »

State flight.

Agamben describes the important aspect of the state's current oversight of work, but some questions remain unanswered. Why should the state authorities be interested in giving in to such panic, which is accompanied by distrust in its place, and which, moreover, seriously impedes capital reproduction, who loves liquidity? Are capital and state power interested in renewing their power in the cause of the global economic crisis? Are the obvious signs that the state power is itself, and not just the "ordinary people", panic-stricken, aware of control over the situation, simply abducted?

In Italy, since March 8, Milan, like the rest of Lombardy, is in quarantine. Roadside checks apply a traffic ban. (CARLO COZZOLI / IPA / ABCAPRESS.COM)

In Italy, since March 8, Milan, like the rest of Lombardy, is in quarantine. Roadside checks apply a traffic ban. (CARLO COZZOLI / IPA / ABCAPRESS.COM)

Agamben's response is just the extreme form of left-wing widely used commentary. "Excessive panic" virus as a mixture of organized social surveillance and unhealthy racism ("Sinful Nature or China"); but such an interpretation does not remove the reality of the threat. Does this reality make us reduce our freedoms? Quarantines and other remedies of this kind obviously limit them, and we need a new Assange here to highlight their possible abuses. But the threat of a viral infection has also sharply brought about new forms of local and global solidarity, and this has clearly demonstrated the need to control political power. People have the right to maintain the state of accounting for the situation. You have the strength, so now show what you can do. The challenge for Europe is to show that what China has done can be done in a more transparent and democratic way. "China, writes sociologist Benjamin Bratton, has implemented measures that Western Europe and the United States are unlikely to tolerate, perhaps at their expense. To put it simply, it is incorrect to interpret all forms of detection and modeling as such «control» and any active management like that «social control». We need more and more sophisticated vocabulary for social intervention. »

It all depends on what "More Elegant Vocabulary" The measures required by the epidemic should not automatically turn into an ordinary surveillance and control paradigm as it has been popularized by thinkers like Foucault (2). What I'm afraid of today, more than the measures used by China (and Italy, etc.), is that they are applied through a vocabulary that will not work and will not contain an epidemic, and I I also fear that the authorities are manipulating and hiding the real data.

Solidarity of present times

Alt-right (3) as: False Left – The "left" false – refuses to accept the full reality of the epidemic, each sweetening it by doing a little exercise in social-constructivist reductionism, that is, condemning it for its social significance. Trump and his supporters have repeatedly insisted that the epidemic is a conspiracy by Democrats and China, while some, on the left, condemn the measures proposed by the states and the public health administration, accusing them in particular of xenophobia (we will then push for important). This attitude forbids us to understand that the form of solidarity of the present times is expressed precisely so that others' hands will not be shaken and, if necessary, isolated.

Content and coronavirus. The problem of "social distance"

Who today can afford to shake hands and kiss others? The privilege. Boccaccio's Decameron consists of stories told of seven young women and three young men who found refuge in an isolated house outside Florence to escape the plague. Members of the financial elite will retreat to distant lands and distract themselves by telling Decameron-style stories, while ordinary people will have to live with viruses every day. (Extremely rich people are already rushing to the private islands of the Caribbean, reserved exclusively for themselves).

On the evening of March 13 and until further notice, the Eiffel Tower is closed to the public. (THOMAS SAMSON / AFP)

On the evening of March 13 and until further notice, the Eiffel Tower is closed to the public. (THOMAS SAMSON / AFP)

What I find most frustrating is the way in which our media outlets announce closures or cancellations of demonstrations, most often matching this information to the exact date, type. "Schools will be closed by April 4". Here, and hopefully, is that after crossing the peak, things will return to normal as soon as possible. But even if it returns to normal, it will no longer be normal. We will no longer accept the accepted things that we considered to be: we will now have to learn to lead a more fragile, threatening existence. We will have to completely change our attitude about our lives as human beings living other forms of life. In other words, if we take into account that the word "philosophy" denotes our fundamental orientation of existence, then we will have to carry out a real philosophical revolution.

The philosophy of the virus

It could be said that "the mind is a virus". Isn't the human mind a kind of virus that comes to infect the human animal, to exploit it by putting it into its own self-production service, and which, at times, threatens to destroy it? And let's not forget, because the medium of thought is a language, that language, at its highest level, is also a mechanical thing. Are language rules that you should learn and follow? Richard Dawkins claims that memes are (4) Myth Virus, parasitic entities which: "Colonize" human power using it to multiply – an idea first put forward by Leo Tolstoy.

The basic concept of Tolstoy's anthropology is infection. The human subject is a passive and empty environment, contaminated by cultural elements that are filled with influences that, like infectious basil, spread from one individual to another. And Tolstoy does not oppose this spread of authentic infectious infections with authentic spiritual autonomy, nor does he offer a heroic vision consisting of nurturing himself until he becomes an autonomous and mature moral object, freeing himself from infectious bacilli. The only fight is between good and bad infections. Christianity itself is an infection, though it is, in Tolstoy's view, a good infection.

Translated from the English by Frederick J Foley

(1) Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNRS.(2) in particular in Monitor and Punishment (1975), which describes prison and its ideological justifications.(3) The "right-wing" ("alternative right") embodies the American far-right Steve Bannon.(4) "Mem" is a concept invented by American biologist Richard Downes in "Selfish Gene" (the best-selling gene of the 1970s), which means "a piece of information contained in the brain that is interchangeable." society. "



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